Gareth Bale’s goal celebration is about to get him paid

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You know that cute little heart sign Gareth Bale makes every time he scores a goal?

It’s about to get him paid.

Bale has filed an application with the UK Intellectual Property Office to trademark a logo that depicts a set of hands making a heart gesture with the number 11 inside of it. If the Welshman successfully trademarks the logo he could stand to make upwards of £3 million a year.

By applying for the trademark Bale aims to join the elite ranks of other high-profile athletes who have entered the merchandise world with lucrative brand licensing deals. Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and David Beckham have all trademarked their own logos, which are stylistically quite different from Bale’s design. Woods and Federer each utilize logos monograms of their initials while Beckham’s logo is a stylised representation of himself during the run of play.

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Bale’s decision to seek trademark of a logo that is not a distinctive monogram or stylized logo could prompt the IPO office to request that he re-work the image to achieve registration. Regardless, Bale’s registration of the logo feels like an inevitability and when it finally does pass muster at the IPO office, the Spurs winger will be in line for a hefty payoff.

“The possibilities are huge for Gareth Bale,” said Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency brandRapport. “Once he has that right he can cash in on it and become a more well-known player. A third of his overall income could be made from his image rights, potentially up to £3 million [$4.7m] a year.”

The goal celebration gesture, known as the ‘Eleven of Hearts,’ was first flashed by Bale in 2010 as a dedication to childhood sweetheart Emma Rhys-Jones. Now Bale is looking to make big business out of the profession of his love putting the logo on headgear, footwear, jewelry, clothing, travelling bags and umbrellas.

The money-making theory behind the trademark is relatively simple. Millions of people across the globe already readily identify the hand gesture with Bale. By incorporating the logo on different products and continuing to flash the sign every time he scores, the logo becomes more and more recognizable as a brand, making people more likely to consume to consume his products.

But who will purchase these products with the ‘Eleven of Hearts’ brand?

Bale lovers? Probably.

Spurs fans? Possibly.

Random football fans? Ehh, probably not.

So while Tottenham is a club with global recognition, there’s little denying that Bale’s current market reach is somewhat limited. And while all of us would be more than happy with the ‘limited market’ of £3 million ($4.7m) a year, it’s hard not to wonder how big his earning potential could be at a global powerhouse like Real Madrid.

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

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Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

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The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

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“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

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This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

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And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”